Sturgeon to set out democratic case for Scottish independence vote

The SNP leader said people in Scotland have repeatedly elected a majority at Holyrood committed to a referendum.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to set out democratic case for Scottish independence vote Flickr

Nicola Sturgeon has insisted that “all Scotland ever hears from UK politicians these days is democracy denial” as she prepares to launch the second in a series of papers on Scottish independence.

The First Minister will set out the document, ‘Renewing Democracy through Independence’ in a speech on Thursday.

It will mark the second in the ‘Building a New Scotland’ series being produced by the Scottish Government.

Ministers are seeking to use the papers as part of efforts to build the case for Scotland to become an independent country.

Sturgeon has stated her intention to hold a vote on the issue on October 19 next year.

However, there is not yet a clear path towards legally holding a referendum, with those powers held by Westminster.

With the SNP leader having ruled out the prospect of an unlawful referendum, the question of whether legislation can be passed at Holyrood to enable a vote to be held is currently being considered by senior judges.

The issue was referred to the UK’s Supreme Court by Scotland’s Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain.

Earlier this week, the UK Government called for the Scottish Government’s request for a referendum to be rejected by the court.

The First Minister’s speech on Thursday also comes in the wake of Boris Johnson announcing his resignation as prime minister.

A number of candidates are currently vying to replace Johnson as Conservative Party leader.

Sturgeon though has insisted that people in Scotland should be allowed to vote on whether they would like Scotland to become an independent country.

“This discussion could not be more timely or urgent – the democratic deficit Scotland faces is not a recent phenomenon, but the evidence of it now is starker than ever,” said Sturgeon is expected to say in her speech.

“A prime minister with no democratic endorsement from Scotland is about to be replaced by yet another prime minister that Scotland hasn’t voted for – and wouldn’t vote for even if we were given the chance.

“All Scotland ever hears from UK politicians these days is democracy denial. They trade opinions on how many years it should be before Westminster might ‘allow’ us to make a democratic choice about our own future.

“The fact that the Scottish people have repeatedly elected a majority in the Scottish Parliament committed to an independence referendum is treated as immaterial. You don’t have to be a supporter of independence to know that’s not democracy.

The First Minister has also been critical of Labour, suggesting that the party may offer a “pale imitation” of the Conservatives if they were to win power.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has already vowed that he will not strike any deals with the SNP.

“That attitude is not surprising from Tories – but these days, where the Tories go, Labour seem obliged to follow. Just as in 2014, they are teaming up with the Tories to frustrate the will of the Scottish people,” she will say.

“Labour’s positions are nothing to do with the interests, let alone the democratic wishes, of people in Scotland.

“They are just cynical political calculations, based on the deeply misguided belief that the way back to power is to adopt wholesale the policies of the Tory government they claim to oppose.

“What Scotland is hearing and seeing, on a daily basis, from Westminster parties encapsulates the democratic deficit that we face as part of the UK.”

She will add: “Parties and policies that we reject are to be forced upon us – but the democratic right to choose an alternative is to be denied to us.

“And it underlines this point: Scotland doesn’t need a pale imitation of, or temporary respite from, Tory government – it needs the real and permanent alternative that only independence offers.”

The Scottish Conservatives’ constitution, external affairs and culture spokesman Donald Cameron, claimed that the SNP are focusing on the wrong priorities.

“In the week that Scotland’s NHS recorded the worst A&E waiting times on record, people will be outraged to see Nicola Sturgeon continuing to campaign for an independence referendum next year,” he said.

“This SNP Government are once again focused on the wrong priority at the worst possible time.

“The vast majority of Scots don’t want a divisive second referendum next year, yet it seems that the SNP are only too happy to ignore democracy when it doesn’t go their way.”

Cameron insisted that the SNP should “give it a rest” and concentrate on other issues.

“Nicola Sturgeon is stubbornly ignoring the real priorities of people across Scotland and instead talking about her usual obsession.

“The SNP must give it a rest and instead concentrate on tackling the global cost-of-living crisis, getting on top of the dangerous and appalling waiting times in our NHS and supporting our recovery from the pandemic.”

Scottish Labour’s constitution spokesperson Sarah Boyack described the previous paper on independence set out by the First Minister as being “nothing but fantasy economics”.

Boyack also claimed that the SNP leader fears Labour “booting out” the Conservatives.

“When people across Scotland are crying out for help with the cost of living crisis, precious government time and energy is being poured into the SNP’s endless attempts to whip up division,” she said.

“The last paper was nothing but fantasy economics and baseless promises of jam tomorrow, without a shred of clarity on the unanswered questions plaguing the SNP’s reckless plans or any attempt to use the powers they have now.

“The First Minister’s increasingly desperate attacks on the Labour Party are a telltale sign that her worst fear is a Labour government booting out the Tories out of office and building a better UK for everyone. 

“Scottish Labour have led the way setting out our vision for a fairer and more democratic UK, based on co-operation rather than conflict.

“Labour are committed to reforming and renewing the UK and strengthening democracy at every level so that we can build a better future for every region, nation and person in the country.”

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